Park and Recreation Month 2016Did you know spending at least 30 minutes once a week can lead to lower rates of depression and lower blood pressure?

National Park and Recreation Month is a time to promote the benefits of healthy, vibrant communities.  It’s a time to recognize the important role parks and recreation play in the quality physical, economic, and environmental well-being of communities. Today, the average American spends 93% of their life indoors – 87% in buildings and 6% in vehicles.   Celebrating National Park and Recreation Month is a great way to spend more time outdoors in parks, which were created to give everyone a place to exercise, socialize, and enjoy nature — which improves overall health.

11908935_889477001118558_2063615096463197299_o Woman walking in spring Little girl swimming for aquatic activities in DC

 

Why get active outside?

  • To increase children’s chances of success in school: Kids with access to safe parks and playgrounds are more likely to engage in physical activities — and kids who are physically active do better in school.
  • To contribute to the maintenance of a healthy weight: Local parks and recreation departments increase access to nutritious food options and promote physical activity.
  • To have a more positive outlook: Spending time outdoors reduces stress and improves mental health. Exposure to nature improves creativity, decreases stress hormones, and calms aggression.

 

If it Is Too Hot Outside, Try Water-Based Activities

Swimming is a great way to get regular physical activity. Getting just 2.5 hours per week of physical activity, such as swimming, briskly walking, or dancing, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses. Physical activity improves the health of those with diabetes and heart disease. Plus, it’s fun! People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land and can exercise longer in water without increased effort or joint or muscle pain.

 

Visit dpr.dc.gov to see what events are happening in your neighborhood park, splash park, or pool.